From the DCPS:
Leading up to the star-studded Standing Ovation for DC Teachers event at the Kennedy Center on November 4th, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is honoring, recognizing and highlighting the success of great teachers in the District’s schools during the month of October, including announcing the winners of prestigious awards.
“Our educators are spectacular and their hard work and commitment to our students and families does not go unnoticed,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “In a little over a month at the Kennedy Center during Standing Ovation, we’ll celebrate our Highly Effective teachers and principals who are literally changing students’ lives. I am so excited for everyone to join in our celebration of amazing educators.”
The first of several announcements of educator awards is The Rubenstein Awards, given to 30 Highly Effective teachers, principals, and support staff. This award recognizes each of those selected with a $5,000 award. Award winners were nominated by DCPS educators, students, parents, and community members, and then selected by a DCPS central office panel.
Among those recognized:
When Myrilyn Barr first arrived at Stoddert in 1986, she set up the technology lab program that she still manages today. Ms. Barr hopes to instill all her students with a level of comfort and literacy using technology, saying, “I want to prepare students for meeting the challenges they face in the larger world.” Early in her career, she frequently participated in education technology pilot programs. Ms. Barr was excited by “the potential to motivate students to stretch their thinking and problem-solving skills in many directions, from logical to creative.”
Ms. Barr has volunteered for a variety of initiatives at Stoddert, including organizing an after-school graphic arts program, coordinating writing contests and helping students to be published by the National Poetry Society, serving on the Personnel, Principal Hiring, Stoddert Modernization, and Hospitality committees, and co-chairing Stoddert’s annual talent show. Her principal, Donald Bryant, commends her performance, saying, “She collaborates well with her colleagues, she has excellent communication skills with parents, and is receptive to suggestions for improvement. Most importantly, she is truly committed to student success.” Ms. Barr has learned to appreciate her young students “for their unbridled enthusiasm for life and learning,” and enjoys continuing to help them gain confidence, discover new approaches, and “think out of the box.” She has been rated Highly Effective in each of the four years of IMPACT evaluations.
Kathleen Sheehy has spent 11 years at Hyde-Addison, serving as an instructional coach for the past four. Ms. Sheehy works with her school’s faculty to improve their teaching practice and help develop their curricula and lesson plans. She knows that when teachers are constantly working to get better, “it inspires their students to set their own goals and work hard to achieve them.” As an instructional coach, she sees her impact on students through her impact on their teachers. “Having a colleague whose job is to both support teachers and help them grow as professionals is so vital to making sure that every classroom has an exceptional teacher,” she says.
Ms. Sheehy enjoys working at Hyde-Addison, where she praises the “culture of constant learning and tireless dedication,” and where her colleagues are receptive to innovation and new ideas. Her warmth reassures teachers and students that they can rely on her to be an understanding ear. Ms. Sheehy was honored in 2008 as the OSSE D.C. Teacher of the Year, but explains that she is thrilled about the opportunity to be in a coaching role. Dana Nerenberg, Principal of Hyde-Addison, says, “Ms. Sheehy is an exemplar of all an instructional coach should be.” She has been rated Highly Effective in all four years of IMPACT evaluations.